Public Policy and Education


JLLA Public Policy and Advocacy

Advocacy means to speak up, to plead the case of another, or to fight for a cause. Derived from the Latin word advocare, which means "coming to the aid of someone," advocacy is an important function of most nonprofit organizations. It describes a wide range of expressions, actions and activities that seek to influence outcomes directly affecting the lives of the people served by the organization. At our core, we conduct public policy on behalf of the community partners we serve. Their partnership with Junior League of Los Angeles includes not only direct service project and programming, they also receive public policy efforts on behalf of their clients.

Through our advocacy efforts, the Junior League of Los Angeles is committed to serving the needs of women and children in the Los Angeles area and throughout the state of California. Like many non-profits, the Junior League of Los Angeles conducts two primary types of advocacy: community and legislative. Community advocacy involves changing the ideas and attitudes of the public. This is typically accomplished through education programs that may include direct mail, publications, group presentations, and a Web site. Many nonprofits make effective use of the media to reach the public and promote an issue.

Within JLLA, our community advocacy includes a variety of internal and external initiatives. Internally, examples include Public Policy Institute and our one day service events entitled Done in a Day with County Boards of Supervisors, Day at the Capitol and Day at City Hall and more. Collectively, these opportunities serve as a training ground for our members to learn about the role of advocacy and how to engage in public policy. Externally, our community advocacy efforts include Community Leadership Forum, our nationally recognized “Speak Up When You’re Down” campaign, dissemination of thousands of domestic violence resource brochures, participation in coalitions and task forces, press releases and use of both traditional and social media to advocate on behalf of our community partners.

Nonprofits pursue legislative advocacy when the target for change is a federal, state or local law, school board policy, or budget allocation. Nonprofit advocacy to influence legislation may involve legislative monitoring, committee testifying, lobbying, writing position statements or papers, organizing networks and coalitions, and a variety of other activities. The Junior League of Los Angeles is a proud sponsor of state legislation that creates opportunity and betters the lives of women and children. We conduct legislative advocacy through our State Public Affairs Committee as well as through our own sponsored and supported legislation. JLLA has a series of position statements in the areas of health, education, violence prevention and family support. Examples of successful JLLA led legislative advocacy efforts have included microbicides, childhood obesity, human trafficking, education, and public safety for children.

JLLA has driven legislative initiatives for twenty-five years. We have a long history of impacting public policy and leading systemic changes through legislative advocacy. Most recently, in 2007-08, the Junior League of Los Angeles sponsored AB 2810 Assembly Member Julia Brownley (D- Santa Monica), which requires authorities to screen victims of domestic violence, child abuse or prostitution to determine whether the person may also be a victim of the serious and growing crime of human trafficking. It also provides specific privacy protections to victims.

Source: Excerpts of descriptions of non-profit advocacy credited to “Learning to Give: Nonprofit Advocacy” by Joyce Johnson, the Center of Philanthropy at Indiana University.

JLLA’s Collective Efforts to Address Public Policy Needs at City, County, State, Federal and International Levels

  • Public Policy Council
    • Public Affairs Committee
    • State Public Affairs Committee
    • Community Leadership Forum
    • Public Policy Institute
    • Leadership LA
  •  JLLA’s Leaders Recognized at the Local, State, Federal and International Level: Learn More
  •  Taking Action
    • Contact Information for Elected Officials
    • Opportunities for JLLA Members to Learn More
    • Register to Vote

Public Policy Council

The Public Policy Council is charged with managing the public policy, advocacy and governmental outreach efforts of the League. With the assistance of a team of experienced and competent community leaders, the Public Policy Council works with its community partners as advocates for their clients with a focus on supporting our active projects, position statements and focus areas. We additionally work with JLLA members, other non-profits, elected officials and advocacy organizations to create lasting change in our communities. We sincerely believe that Public Policy advocacy is open to everyone, and we seek to provide our members with the proper training in order to ensure that every member of the League has the tools necessary to be a successful policy advocate. Public Policy Council is comprised of five committees: Public Affairs Committee, State Public Affairs Committee, Community Leadership Forum, Public Policy Institute  and Leadership LA.

Public Affairs Committee (PAC)

The Public Affairs Committee (PAC), advocates on behalf of Junior League projects and educates League members about important issues that impact our projects, programs and the community at large. PAC works on building and strengthening relationships with our city and county public officials, educating them and the Los Angeles community about emerging issues facing local nonprofits. PAC participates in LA-based coalitions, writes legislation and policy statements, conducts “Advocacy 101” training, evaluates pieces of potential legislation for Junior League of Los Angeles’ support and coordinates DIAD opportunities with city and county legislators.

State Public Affairs Committee (SPAC)

The Junior Leagues of California State Public Affairs Committee (SPAC) is a non-partisan education and advocacy organization representing 17 member Leagues throughout the state. Collectively, SPAC represents over 10,000 members who donate millions of fundraising dollars and approximately 500,000 service hours in support for community programs that assist women and families. Since 1971, SPAC has represented the interests of its member Leagues and community partners at the national, state, and local levels. SPAC is composed of two delegates from the following 17 Junior Leagues across the state: Bakersfield, Fresno, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Monterey, Napa-Sonoma, Oakland-East Bay, Orange County, Palo Alto-Mid Peninsula, Pasadena, Riverside, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Joaquin County, San Jose, and Santa Barbara.

Community Leadership Forum (CLF)

The Community Leadership Forum (CLF) brings together community, non-profit organization, and foundation leaders, along with JLLA members, to share knowledge, enhance awareness and advance the cause of an emerging issue impacting Los Angeles. CLF is open to all members of the Community and provides an opportunity for dialogue between political leaders, foundation members, non-profit organization employees and volunteers, educators and Junior League of Los Angeles members.  Past topics include early childhood literacy, human trafficking, and foster care.

Public Policy Institute (PPI)

The Public Policy Institute (PPI) is a training program that helps prepare our members to serve with skill in the areas of public policy, whether on the Public Policy Council, SPAC, PAC, or in any leadership position inside or outside the League. The goal of PPI is to ensure that our members have the necessary understanding of public policy required to affect change in the community and non-profit sectors. The institute consists of two components - a 6-8 week course and an optional non-paid internship. No prior public policy related experience is expected or required. In 2010, PPI won the prestigious Association of Junior Leagues International’s Leadership Development Award designated to one program among the 293 Leagues in four countries.

Leadership Southern California/LA

JLLA participates in the Leadership Southern California / LA program, run by the Southern California Leadership Network. The Southern California Leadership Network’s mission is to develop a productive network of exemplary and diverse leaders in the business, government and community sectors who are capable of addressing the critical challenges facing the Southern California region. Leadership Southern California brings leaders from throughout Southern California together to educate them on the challenges and diversity of the region. The President Elect Elect generally represents JLLA.


JLLA’s Public Policy Leaders Advance Civic Leadership at the Local, State, Federal and International Levels

The Junior League of Los Angeles is proud of its members who make significant contributions to advancing civic leadership at the local, state, federal and international levels. A sampling of these women and their civic engagement include:

  • Several JLLA members have been elected by delegates of 17 member leagues of the State Public Affairs Committee to serve as Co-ChairSeptember Hill 2013-2014Joy Burkhard 2010-2011, Julie Elginer 2009-2010, Grace Coopman 2008-2009 and Maureen Dowd 2004-2005. SPAC represents nearly 10,000 Junior League women throughout the state.

  • Sustainer, Julie Elginer, joined sixteen women throughout four countries as a leading member of AJLI’s Collaborative League Engagement Taskforce. This highly selective, two-year commitment is evaluating opportunities for any of AJLI’s 292 member Leagues to collectively engage in advocacy.

  • Actives, September Hill and Tasha Koumaris, adapted the “Speak Up When You’re Down” slogan to accompany Perinatal Depression Awareness month. They created nationally recognized posters, logo, resource cards and ribbons which have been disseminated throughout the state.

  • Sustainer, Joy Burkhard founded and serves as the Executive Director and Board Chair of 2020 Mom
    Its mission is to bring stakeholders together to exchange ideas, identify barriers and opportunities and form collaborative relationships to increase and improve maternal mental health awareness, diagnosis and treatment in California and beyond.

  • Sustainer, Susan Steinhauser, serves as President of the Los Angeles County Law Library Board of Trustees and received her appointment from County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky.  She also was appointed by the Governor to Vice Chair of the California Arts Council.

  • Sustainer, Billie Greer, was appointed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger as Director of his Los Angeles office.  She was also appointed to President of the Southern California Leadership Council, founded by four former California Governors and Southern California business and community leaders to address and solve public policy issues critical to the region's economic vitality.


Public Policy Council Celebrated its 20th Anniversary in 2010

The Junior League of Los Angeles was the first League throughout the Association of Junior Leagues International to dedicate its own independent council strictly for the purposes of advocacy and advancing public policy.

JLLA founded: 

The Women’s Appointment Collaboration with over 80 other organizations in order to obtain the appointment of women to Los Angeles County and City Boards and Commissions (1990-1999);

The Women’s Internship Program (WIN), co-sponsored with Mount St. Mary’s College in Brentwood,established public policy role model mentoring and career development options for college women The Junior League found female mentors who had careers in public policy and they matched them with the students at the college (1991-2006);

Women And The Court System, co-sponsored with the Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles, helped coordinate and provide court advocacy and develop a Legal Training Advisory Committee to train judges and attorneys working in the area of domestic violence (1992-1994);

• Collaborated with the national Silent Witness Initiative, a mobile program highlighting homicide victims of domestic violence in Los Angeles County. The life-size silhouettes of these victims were displayed throughout Los Angeles County at sites including Los Angeles City Hall and the Capitol in Sacramento (1996-2000);

• Authored legislation on Human Trafficking (2008);

• Launched the statewide “Speak Up When You’re Down” campaign to address perinatal depression throughout the state (2010);

• Establishment of the AJLI Leadership Award winning Public Policy Institute, which is a training program that helps prepare our members to serve with skill in the areas of public policy within and outside the League. (2010);

• Established Appointments to Boards and Commissions Institute (ABCI) which is a training program designed to inform, educate and encourage our members to pursue appointments on California’s many boards and commissions at the local, county and state level and in turn, develop civic leaders within our membership. (2010).

Sponsored ACR 62 declaring March of every year to be  “Read Across California Month (2011);

Taking Action


One of the most important things you can do to make sure your voice is heard is to vote! Click here to register to vote and for details on registration from the Secretary of State. Remember that you must register to vote 30 days in advance of an election, and that you must re-register if you move, change your name, or wish to change your party affiliation.

Taking Action: Local Elected Officials

Want to contact a public official or representative? Click on the text below in order to link to the local, state and federal government websites:

If you don’t know who represents you, select this link and enter your address to learn which federal, state, and local officials represent you: LA Vote



Junior League of Los Angeles

630 North Larchmont Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90004-1308

Phone: (323) 957-4280
Fax: (323) 957-2072

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